VLADIVOSTOK, September 8. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s initiative to build a bridge connecting Russia’s Sakhalin and Japan’s Hokkaido islands is a de-facto joint cooperation proposal to Japanese businessmen, a Russian minister said on Thursday.
Speaking at the 2017 Eastern Economic Forum on September 7, the Russian leader said the country planned "to build a bridge to Sakhalin, and to come out and connect Sakhalin and Hokkaido." He described the project as "absolutely global in nature."
Commenting on the initiative on the sidelines of the EEF, Russian Far Eastern Development Minister Alexander Galushka said: "De facto, it was suggested that Japan considered the issue of joint construction of transport infrastructure from Sakhalin to Hokkaido in the context of detailed analysis of Russia’s construction of a bridge to Sakhalin."
Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said on Wednesday that Russia suggested Japan to jointly build an automobile road and a rail link between Hokkaido and the southern part of Sakhalin.
Alexander Misharin, who heads Russia’s rail monopoly RZD, earlier told TASS in an interview that Russia and Japan have set up a working group to examine a project of a transport link between the two states.
Pavel Ivankin, who heads the Rail Transport Research Institute, estimates the project’s cost at 1 trillion rubles. With construction works carried out simultaneously between Sakhalin and Hokkaido and Sakhalin and mainland Russia, the project may take between three and five years, including engineering and design.